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Typhoid Fever

What is Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease, caused by Salmonella typhi ( S.typhi ). It is transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by faeces or urine of infected people.

A person with typhoid fever has this bacterium in their blood stream and intestinal tract. They can infect the other people by contaminating food and water.

Malaysia reported a total of 325 cases of typhoid and paratyphoid in 2007 (Incidence rate 1.2/100,000 population)

What are common food Implicated?

  • Undercooked shellfish (etak, cockles, kupang, clams, oyster)
  • Raw vegetables (lettuces, ulam)
  • Contaminated Cendol
  • Raw milk

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Sustained and prolonged fever up to 40°C
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ache
  • Headache
  • Malaise (Weekness/ Lethargic)
  • Loss of apetite
  • Dry cough
  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Rose coloured spots on the upper body
  • Enlarged spleen and livers

usually develop after 1-2 weeks but can also occur from 3 days to 3 months after exposure.

Symptoms include:

How does it spread?

  • Consumption of food and drink which has been contaminated by S.typhi bacteria
  • Consumption of food and drink which has been prepared by persons carrying the bacteria (typhoid carrier)


  • Often fatal if not treated early and adequately
  • Persons with no symptoms / recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria is called a “carrier”.


  • A person with typhoid fever should seek medical help.
  • Antibiotic such as chloramphenicol, ampicilin and ciprofloxacin are commonly prescribed.


  • Wash hands properly with soap and water after visiting toilet and before preparing food.
  • Only eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked
  • Avoid risky foods and drinks (raw vegetables and fruits, street foods, ice during outbreak)
  • Drink only boiled or bottled water.
  • Avoid ice unless the ice is made from boiled or bottled water
  • Get vaccinated against typhoid fever
  • Maintain cleanliness and proper sanitation especially after flood or natural disaster.
  • Use only clean water for food preparation

What should I do if I am suspected to have typhoid fever?

See you doctor immediately

Last Reviewed : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Aaisah Senin
: Norrani Eksan
Reviewer : Dr. Marzida Abd Latib